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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old December 10th, 2008, 04:45 PM   #1
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H-4 zoom... input needed please.

I plan on buying a better digital recorder pretty soon... I would like to go with the H4 since it will work with my XLR condenser mic. I have either two options. Place it out of the way on the stand near the B&G and use the condenser mic. Or mic up the groom and use the lapel. In the pictures i've seen it looks pretty big. How do you guys use it?
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Old December 10th, 2008, 08:52 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Stephen J. Williams View Post
I plan on buying a better digital recorder pretty soon... I would like to go with the H4 since it will work with my XLR condenser mic. I have either two options. Place it out of the way on the stand near the B&G and use the condenser mic. Or mic up the groom and use the lapel. In the pictures i've seen it looks pretty big. How do you guys use it?
The H4 is a decent recorder for various situations.

Micing someone with it is not one of them. First off you only have full size XLR or 1/4 TRS input capability, as there is no 1/8 mini jack for lav usage. But the H4 is way too large to use n someone anyway.

Also, if you plan on using it to capture vows using the internal mics or any otehr mic plugged into it, forget about it.

Your mic elements will be too far away to use in this manner.

The H4 works best either by using the internal mics to record live instrumentals or even vocals (if place on a lectern for readings during a service). used to use it for live recital recordings, where I would mount the H4 on a mic stand with a condenser mic in XLR input 1 and then place another mic on a mic stand at the other end of the stage and run an XLR cable into XLR CH2.

I also obviously took board feeds and used the onboard mics with great success. I sold the H4 because I purchased a 4-channel recorder for my larger live shoots. As such the H4 became obsolete for me, so I sold it.

I use Sennhesier wireless systems for lav recording for ceremonies. but I also have used with great success, an Edirol R09 and Marantz PMD620 with a lav mic on a groom for recording of vows. Worked flawlessly every time.

If you want to record good audio, the key is to get as close o your source as possible.
As such, if you are recording live vocals (like vows or such) your best results will be using lav mic and small transmitter or recorders, or boom micing using cardioid mics.

Obviously boom micing won't work for ceremonies, so lav mics work best.

Just of note, this past weekend I did a Jewish service (where they use a mic on a mic stand often). Besides micing the groom with a wireless, I also clamped a Zoom H4 recorder onto the mic stand and recorded from both sides of the unit (the H4 has 4 internal mics that let you record from both the front and back of the recorder). The audio actually came out pretty god, as I got the readings and canter singing very well, and the groom/brides vows very well also. The wireless audio of course was the best, but the recorder audio worked well if needed, especially for backup audio if needed.
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Old December 10th, 2008, 09:30 PM   #3
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Thanks for all of the info. I knew that it wouldn't be ideal to mic a groom with it. I didn't even know that there wasn't mini jack available.
The audio samples that i've heard off of vimeo and youtube sound great. I was somewhat hoping to incorporate it somehow.
So a condenser mic on a stand within 5ft of the action hooked up to the H4 is overall a bad idea?????
Unfortunately I cant really afford wireless at this point....
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Old December 10th, 2008, 09:48 PM   #4
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Thanks for all of the info. I knew that it wouldn't be ideal to mic a groom with it. I didn't even know that there wasn't mini jack available.
The audio samples that i've heard off of vimeo and youtube sound great. I was somewhat hoping to incorporate it somehow.
So a condenser mic on a stand within 5ft of the action hooked up to the H4 is overall a bad idea?????
Unfortunately I cant really afford wireless at this point....
If yo can't afford a wireless, I would then suggest putting your money into either an Edirol R09HR (Edirol / Roland | R-09HR Portable High-Resolution Audio | R-09HR)

or I wold highly recommend a Marantz PMD620 (Marantz | PMD620 Professional Handheld Digital Audio | PMD620)

The PMD620 is a great little recorder. It has good internal built in mics, an record to an unspecified size SD card (meaning that there is not current limit to it's recoding card size). It has very good built in mics and much better pre amps than the Zoom recorders. It also has very solid separate 1/8 mic and line inputs, and great manual controls (including 3 customized presets that let you preset recoding environments, so you can simply preset your recorder to record line-in, internal mic, and external mic or even auto. This is a huge time saver for times where you want to have your recorder setup to record in different recording environments). And best of all you can get one at B&H right now for $299.

Just plug a lav mic into the 1/8 mic port place the recorder in the grooms pocket and clip the lav to his tie, vest, or lapel and your set to go. You should be able to get great audio from the groom/bride, and as long as he's by the couple the officiant as well.

Then if you want, you cold pace the recorder on a mic stand by a PA stack and use the internal mics to record the reception audio. Or take a line feed from the board and record to the PMD620.

Either way i would recommend a small audio recorder with 1/8 inputs and built in mics, over a unit such as the H4 with XLR inputs. The reasoning being that a small recorder will be more versatile for your needs. And as far as XLR inputs, the only real benefit is a more slid connection compared to 1/8 mini. And as far as balanced or unbalanced, balanced will only serve you best when doing long cable runs of over 10 feet or so. Which you won't be doing, especially for a wedding.

The H4 with it's built in dual XLR's would come in handy in addition to you having a small recorder or wireless unit first. Then you cold use the H4 for additional micing purposes, like recording musicians during a ceremony. You obviously could do this with the PMD620, but you would be using this on a person for lav recording during this time.
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